IT started with a fight.
New Blacon Youth Club player-managers Ben Heath and Aden Shannon may be the best of friends now but it wasn’t always like this.
Full-back Heath remembers the first time he encountered striker Shannon while playing on opposite sides in the Welsh Premier League.
Heath said: “I was playing for Connah’s Quay and he was playing for Welshpool and we had a fight on the pitch – a bit of a ding-dong.
“In the bar after the match he came up to me and said ‘I know who you are, where you live and who you’re seeing’. So I got straight on the phone to my girlfriend, who I’d not long started seeing, and she told me he was Aden Shannon and that she was best mates with his girlfriend.
“So that was how we met and looking back it’s quite funny to be fair.
“We got to know each other, played against each other in the Welsh league and we’d see each other out and about running in Chester.
“He then asked me to come and play for Blacon in the second half of last season. I’d stopping playing football about three years earlier because of family and work commitments but I said yes and now I’ve really got the bug back.
“Saturday wouldn’t be the same without football.”
Northern Irishman Heath, 27, and Blacon boy Shannon, 32, have taken over the manager’s reins from Paul Broadbent.
Broadbent revived Blacon’s fortunes last season, leading the Cairns Crescent outfit to the Chester & District FA Senior Cup and a much improved performance in West Cheshire League Division One.
Heath and Shannon are eager to build on the foundations laid by Broadbent, who will continue to assist the duo.
Heath is a UEFA A Licence coach who spent six years working for Wrexham’s Centre of Excellence after moving to Chester to study at the University of Chester.
Heath, the son of former Wrexham and Tranmere Rovers midfielder Seamus, said: “Ashville won the league last season but they’ve lost a lot of players so it could be up for grabs.
“After Ashville the top five or six teams were quite close so I think we are in with a shot of finishing high up and as the highest Chester team.”
Heath and Shannon are trying to help the club – which has more than 600 junior and senior players and is wholly reliant on volunteers – run as professionally as it can.
Players will use Rileys Sports Bar as the first team’s after- match venue this season while Heath has secured sponsorship from his employers, Audi, and National Windscreens to add to the continued backing of R2 Construction.
On the field, Heath and Shannon have convinced highly rated youngsters like Jack Pickering, Matty Cross and Matty Pierce to commit their immediate futures to the club as well as making new additions.
Blacon continue their pre-season preparations with a friendly at home to Runcorn Town on Saturday.
If you or your business would like to sponsor Blacon Youth Club you can contact Ben Heath on 07859 009336.